Crypto marketplace Binance, WazirX roll out India-focused blockchain fund

Crypto marketplace Binance, WazirX roll out India-focused blockchain fund
Photo Credit: Pixabay
17 Mar, 2020

Cryptocurrency marketplace Binance, along with its subsidiary WazirX, has launched a $50 million fund to invest in blockchain-based startups focused on industrial and social issues.

The Malta headquartered firm’s fund, called Blockchain for India, aims to invest between $100,000 and $5 million, provide support from their blockchain ecosystem and offer mentorship to the portfolio companies, a statement said. It is also open to co-investing with other venture capital funds, it added.

The fund will focus on startups that develop solutions to convert fiat currency to cryptocurrency, trading platforms, payments solutions, digital wallets, stablecoins and decentralised finance platforms, the statement said.

“With this fund, we want to encourage and enable more and more founders and teams to come in. This initiative also shows the incredible potential that the Indian blockchain ecosystem has to offer. Apart from funding transformative blockchain projects in India, we look forward to collaborating with other investment funds to grow the ecosystem even further,” Nischal Shetty, co-founder of WazirX, said.

The fund will also help universities and student organisations set up university blockchain technology incubators.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Supreme Court of India verdict quashing the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ban on virtual currencies. Last year, at least two cryptocurrency trading platforms -- Koinex and Zebpay -- shut down services due to the prohibition.

Binance Holdings, which runs the cryptocurrency exchange, provides solutions including blockchain, cloud, research, training and support to blockchain developers. It also operates Binance Academy, an educational portal for blockchain, and Binance Labs and Launchpads, which supports upcoming startups in the sector.

Binance’s cryptocurrency exchange, which facilitates the trade of bitcoin, ethereum, ripple and litecoin, processes over 14 lakh transactions per second, according to information on its website.

Founded in 2018 by Shetty Sameer Mhatre and Siddharth Menon, Zanmai Labs-owned WazirX was acquired by Binance a year after its launch. Also a cryptocurrency exchange platform,

WazirX provides a platform for peer-to-peer trading and conduct transactions with Indian currency.

WazirX was Binance’s first acquisition for around $5-10 million. It then bought Beijing-based blockchain data firm DappReview and cryptocurrency wallet Trust Wallet.

In February, Tech Mahindra and the government of Telangana jointly launched T- Block Accelerator, a programme for the Telangana blockchain district. In the same month, Air transport IT solutions provider SITA launched a new blockchain association to track, trace and record aircraft parts.